Emotion is the death of reason
The GOP’s failure to pass a “repeal and replace” plan through Congress for Obamacare was nothing short of a spectacle.
Even after Speaker Ryan’s best efforts to whip votes and several reschedulings of the vote date, House Republicans were unable to produce the necessary tally to advance the bill to the Senate.
Not terribly surprising, I must say. I was amazed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) advanced through the committee hurdles as quickly as it did considering the marginal amount of substantive legislation passed through the Capitol during my lifetime.
But what was most intriguing to me wasn’t the content of the bill, nor was it the drama that unfolded leading to its removal from the legislative docket.
It was the president’s reaction to the AHCA debacle that made me pause and execute a cerebral double-take.
In short, the AHCA failed to pass through the House because of a relatively small group of conservative lawmakers known as the Freedom Caucus. Moderate Republicans needed their conservative colleagues’ vote in spite of the majority they hold over their Democratic counterparts.
The Freedom Caucus failed to sign off on the AHCA. The president, obviously irked, declared that he would “fight” the Freedom Caucus and work with Democrats instead to reform our failing healthcare system.
Wait—back up. The leader of the free world, whose party also happens to control both Houses of Congress, declared legislative war on the grassroots faction of his party and threatened to partner with the opposite side of the political spectrum to enact reform.
As a Republican, this scares me. But, as an American, this excites me—and I know which one is fundamentally more important.
Could it be that the president would actually work with the opposition party to pass legislation on which both groups can agree?
Could it be that the American people might finally take in a breath of collegial fresh air before being forced back under the waves of alternating, single-party dominance?
Imagine with me, if you will, the prospect of a president taking into account the concerns and input of the opposition party at a time when he has the ability to jam through the Congress any legislation ideologically consistent with his party’s platform.
Believe me, I understand the reasons why our country employs a party-ruled system. But you’ll excuse me for a minute if I become inordinately excited at the prospect of real, tangible political cooperation on an issue so monumental as Obamacare.
It’s almost like the well-being of the American people is being prioritized rather than the repletion of those who would cast re-election votes.
Obviously, it remains to be seen whether or not the president will make good on his word. There’s certainly a possibility that these words were nothing more than spiteful vengeance, meant to intimidate the Freedom Caucus into cooperation.
But it’s also possible that this shift in thinking represents a new horizon. Without a doubt, herein lies a tremendous chance for our elected officials, including the President.
Now is the time for our representatives to demonstrate to us that for which we have been longing for decades—the work of an honest politician. It’s time for the welfare of the American people to take precedence over the ideologically strong but marginally representative special interests.
If nothing else, maybe this can serve as a bright spot in a time when many are having difficulty finding reason for optimism. Regardless of your opinions of the current administration, we can all be unified by a common hope for a better, more cooperative future for our country.
Jonathan Deemer is a sophomore studying biomedical science.